May 11, 2012

This topic isn’t exactly the kind of thing I usually write about but I was so impressed by the concept I couldn’t resist.

A new smart phone app called lets businesses, people and non-profits come together in a unique way.

Here is how it works. Businesses partner with non-profits. People volunteer for these non-profits and in exchange get discounts to use at the businesses the non-profits are partnered with.

Right now is only available in a few cities but the company is growing quickly.

There is a very good video on the web site that explains things in full detail.

Fruit Blossoms

Fruit Blossoms (Photo credit: jaxxon)

A few miles from downtown Seattle a group of civic-minded people are working hard to build the Beacon Food Forest, “a land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.”

The goal of the group is to create an area that will provide a variety of food for the community while requiring a minimum of maintenance. Fruit and nut trees, a variety of berries plus other perennial and annual vegetables will all be planted in the edible forest. Harrison Design is the landscape architect company that did the schematic for the Forest you see below.

The Food Forest’s mission is not only to feed the community but also bring the community closer together and raise awareness of issues like climate change. There are, of course, challenges such as not having a small group of people take a large portion of the spoils. But I commend the Beacon Food Forest group for taking on this endeavor and wish them the best of luck.

If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in volunteering or getting more information go here.

While I was living in New York I had the honor of serving on the board of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust; a consortium of 37 community gardens bought by the Trust for Public Land when the current mayor threatened to sell the gardens to developers.

Recently, The Trust for Public Land released control of 32 of the 37 gardens to the Land Trust making Brooklyn Queens Land Trust the largest urban land trust in the country.

Please visit BQLT’s web site. It is still a work in progress but in the future they will have many resources for urban community gardens, as well as more information about what they are up to.

Having been a part of the organization myself I can tell you this is a great accomplishment that was made possible by the hard work of many dedicated people.

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